Tag Archives: health care

Open Enrollment 2018: Key Information, Dates and Reminders

Doctor visit

If you are currently without health insurance, Open Enrollment for individuals is here. Open Enrollment is your opportunity to purchase this coverage so that you can be covered on January 1, 2018.

It is important to be aware that if you are earning an income above the Federal Poverty Level, you will be required to pay a penalty for any three consecutive months that you are without health insurance. If you have lost your coverage previously sponsored by an employer, or you no longer qualify to be on your parent’s plan because you are over 26 years old, Open Enrollment is your time to take action to purchase health insurance.

Here is how you can take advantage of this sign-up period to secure health insurance and avoid any subsequent penalties.

What is Open Enrollment?

This is a period during which an individual can apply for health insurance with fewer restrictions than any other time during the year. It is important for those uninsured individuals to make note of this eligibility period. Open Enrollment for the calendar year of 2018 extends from November 1st through December 15, 2017. During Open Enrollment, insurance companies    waive underwriting guidelines and any requirement for evidence of insurability. When Open Enrollment ends on 12/15/17, individuals seeking coverage need to be “qualified” for Special Enrollment, or they will be required to wait until the next scheduled open enrollment period for 2019.

What is Special Enrollment?

This is a period outside open enrollment during which you are given an exception and can purchase health insurance following a qualifying life event, including divorce, marriage, birth, adoption, moving, death and loss of employer sponsored coverage.

How can individual insurance be purchased?

A number of Health Insurance Companies are offering Individual health coverage either directly through health carrier websites, via the New York State Health Exchange, or off the Exchange through independent insurance brokers.

What penalties will you be responsible to pay if you are not covered?

In 2018: $695 or 2.5% of income (individual) and $347.50 (child). The maximum penalty will be set at $2,085.

Health insurance is extremely important for all individuals, even for those with a clean bill of health. Accidents happen, as do unforeseen illnesses.  The cost of emergency room visits, x-rays, MRIs, hospital stays and doctor visits can all add up and be a financial burden to you and your family. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase health insurance.  Please contact us with any questions you have about Open Enrollment.

Understanding the Need to Prepare for Long Term Care

older-couple-ipadMuch like death or disability, thinking about a potential long term care event is difficult. It is critical to the financial, physical and emotional well-being of your family to put a financial plan in place prior before you require medical assistance. It may be difficult to anticipate what could happen in the future. Tending to long term care costs sooner than later ensures that you and those you love will not feel the financial burden if that time does come.

In the event that you are plagued with a physical impairment or chronic illness, you may need to rely on long term care. You may also require long term care if you experience a decline in intellect and require ongoing care, supervision, and assistance completing life’s daily tasks.

These are conditions that can be medicated, yet not cured. Ailments and diseases that fall under this category include the following:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Brain Tumors
  • Strokes
  • Spinal Cord Injuries

older-couple-drinks

Long term care provides the necessary attention for you while in need, at the same time lessening the burden on your family to step in and provide it instead.

Your children may feel obligated to take care of you, in turn allowing their own life goals to be placed on the back burner.  This sacrifice often takes a severe emotional and physical toll on a loved one to provide care while juggling all the other obligations they have. Having to reallocate your own funds (or those of your family) may also limit your ability to take care of other financial responsibilities.

When opting to purchase life insurance, you may do so in order to protect your family in the event of an unexpected death. Long term care insurance can be looked at with the same regard.

Long Term Care insurance can be purchased as a stand-alone policy that provides funds for extended care costs or as part of a Permanent Life policy. The death benefit here can be accessed for a qualified Long Term Care event prior to the insured’s death. If you become frail and require extended care services, the benefits from a Long Term Care policy can be accessed if the insured requires assistance in the six activities of daily living.

These are defined as:

          • Eating
          • Dressing
          • Bathing
          • Toileting
          • Continence
  • Transferring (getting in and out of bed, chair, etc.)

The benefits may also be accessed if you have a cognitive condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s that requires supervision to prevent harming yourself or others. Long Term Care insurance provides funds when the family needs it the most.

We encourage you to review this information carefully so that you can make good choices now that will keep you and your family feeling safe and cared for later on in your life.  Contact us today to help you consider your best options.